Brown Eyed Girl
Another Censor's View
by Tommy Towery
Class of '64
This week I find the opportunity to make a social commentary on another song of our past. Farther down in this issue you will see that John Drummond also submitted his own comments on this song, and I am not trying to steal his thunder, but I have my own little short story about it. Now, the truth be known, the song actually came out in 1967 which is a little beyond our high school graduations, but still close enough to allow it to be mentioned.
I always like this song, did, do, and will as long as my memory will serve me. Though I was living in Memphis when the song became popular, some of the lyrics took me back to my happier days in Huntsville. One verse talks about "slipping and sliding all along the waterfall" immediately took my thoughts back to my days at Central Presbyterian Church and the church summer camp where I spent many, happy weeks in my early childhood. We went to camp at "Camp Ovoca" in Tullahoma, Tennessee. I probably went there three or four summers in my pre-teen to early teen ages.
From the web I found that Ovoca consisted of approximately 400 acres of woodland and farming with many tranquil settings, including a lake and beautiful 70 foot waterfall, located about two miles from Tullahoma. Ovoca was purchased in 1908 at a cost of $6,000.00 by the Knights of Pithiest for a Pythian home for widows and orphans. Numerous buildings were built on the site including a home, barn, cottages, administrative building, dormitories, dining hall, etc. Also a beautiful camping and picnic area was built on this property near the beautiful waterfalls for the use of church groups and other visitors. Below is a picture I found on the web of the dining hall at the top of the hill as I remember it.
But the slipping and sliding along the waterfall at Ovoca is not the premier intent of this reflection about censorship. There is another verse in the song which had special meaning to me and probably some others as well, even though it cannot be taken literally - at least not by me. That verse is the one that came under the censor's pen in Memphis. The version as originally recorded was "making love in the green grass, behind the stadium with you, a brown eyed girl." Well, I supposed the powers at be decided that "making love" was not the innocent "making out" of our teenage years but a more literal modern TV definition and so on the Memphis stations the verse somehow became more tame by changing that verse to "laughing and running, behind the stadium." To me the stadium was the new stadium in Huntsville that would eventually become Milton Frank Stadium, and the green grass behind it was Braham Spring Park.
To prove this to myself, I looked it up on Wikipedia on the web and found this information. "The song's nostalgic lyrics about a former love were considered too suggestive at the time to be played on many radio stations. A radio-edit of the song was released which removed the lyrics "making love in the green grass", replacing them with "laughin' and a-runnin', hey hey" from a previous verse. This edited version appears on some copies of the compilation album The Best of Van Morrison. However the remastered CD seems to have the bowdlerized lyrics in the packaging but the original "racy" lyrics on the disc. Lyrically, it "shows early hints of the idealized pastoral landscapes that would flow through his songs through the decades, a tendency that links him to the Romantic poets, whom Morrison has cited as an influence" according to music journalist Erik Hage."
It played that way for years, even when I moved back to Memphis in 1988. It grated against my nerve each time I heard the sanitized version of it that spoiled my thought chain of some happier times. Finally, though, on today's playings, it is back to "making love in the green grass." It is odd today to think that stations did that back then, especially when you listen to the songs we hear today.
Memphis, TN - Text
New England and Canada Fall Color Cruise Celebration
Submitted by Linda Collinsworth Provost
To celebrate the year we all became eligible for medicare, four of us took a New England and Canada fall color cruise. We're still close friends after all these years. In the picture are (left to right) Darla Gentry Steinbert, Kathy Harris Jones, Lynn Bozeman Van Pelt, and Linda Collinsworth Provost. We are all from the LHS Class of '66.
Attention Lee Veterans
The following is my most current list of Lee High School Veterans from the Classes of '64-'66 followed by '67. Please check it over and if you are a veteran and do not see your name listed or you know of a classmate from these years who was a veteran and is not listed please email me immediately at email@example.com If you need to correct your information please do the same. I need a complete list for the upcoming Veteran's Day Salute. I am also looking for any classmate who received a Silver Star or higher decoration.
Classes of '64-'65-'66
Butch Adcock, Class of '64, US ARMY
Bob Alverson, Class of '65, US NAVY
Elbert Balch, Class of '65, US ARMY
Sherman Banks class of 65 – Navy
Jim Bannister, Class of '66, US NAVY
Johnny Beauregard, Class of ’64, US ARMY
Steve Bennett, Class of '65, US ARMY
Mark Bentley, Class of ’66, US NAVY
Jim Betterton, Class of '64, US AIR FORCE
Don Blaise, Class of '64, US NAVY
Ron Blaise, Class of 65, Navy
Mike Boggs, Class of '64, US AIR FORCE
Vicki Eisgrau Bottorff, Class of '64, ARMY
Lewis Brewer, Class of ’66, US NAVY
Everett Broulette, Class of 65, US ARMY
John Kent Bushart, Class of 1965, Air Force
Charles (Butch) Chaffin, Class of ’66, US Army Reserve
Mike Cianci ' 66 Army Reserves
Skip Cook, Class of '64, US ARMY
Mike Cortright, Class of ’65, US MARINE CORPS
Mike Crowell (1965)
Wayne Deason, Class of '64, US NAVY
Jack Dickerson, Class of '64, AIR FORCE
Ed Donnelly, Class of ’65, US ARMY
Rick Edmonds, Class of '65, US NAVY
Dennis Faber, Class of ’65, US AIR FORCE
John Fulda, Class of 65, Alabama National Guard
Mike Garrison, Class of '65, Air Force
Tom Gilbert, Class of '67, US NAVY
William Glough, Jr., Class of 65, US MARINE CORPS
Robert Gorum, Class of 65, US NAVY
Mike Griffith, Class of 66, US ARMY
Scott Hancock, Class of '66, US ARMY
Charlie Hancock, Class of '66, US NAVY/Marines
Gary W. Hatcher, Class of '66, US AIR FORCE
George "Bucky" Hoffmeyer , Class of '66, USA Army Reserve
Dennis Hollingsworth, Class of ’65, US ARMY
Ed Huff, Class of ’67, US MARINE CORPS
Jan Hunt, Class of '66, US ARMY
Eddie Jones, Class of ’66, US MARINE CORPS
Dwight Kephart, Class of '64, US ARMY Reserve
Mike Kuettner, Class of 65, US MARINE CORPS
Rainer Klauss, Class of ’64, US ARMY
David Lemaster, Class of '66, US ARMY
Earl Davis McNeal, Class of 1966
Jack Meeks, Class of 65, Alabama National Guard
Gary A. Metzger, Class of ’64, National Guard
W. Dale Meyer, Class of '66
Jim Myrick, Class of ’65, US MARINE CORPS
Neil Neumann, Class of ’64, US ARMY Reserve
Dennis Overcash (66), Army
Brian Pfeiffer, Class of '64, US ARMY
Roger Pentecost, Class of 66, US MARINE CORPS
Bob Pierce, Class of '64, US ARMY
James Pierce, Class of 64, US AIR FORCE
Bob Ramsey, Class of 64, US ARMY
Harry Renfroe, US ARMY
Steven N. Roberson Class of '64, US Air Force
Fred Sanders, Class of '65, US NAVY
John Scales, Class of 66, US ARMY
Larry M. Seaver, Class of ’64, US ARMY
Johnny J. Sharp, Class of '64, US NAVY
Harold Shepard, Class of '67, US ARMY
Randy Sherrill, Class of '65, US ARMY
T. E. Shirley (66), Army
Frank Sliz (66), Army
Richard (Ricky) Simmons, Class of '64, US MARINE CORPS
Ronnie Smith, US MARINE CORPS
Ronald Steel, US ARMY
Jim Stephenson, Class of '67, US ARMY
Phil Stewart (66), Army
Mike Storm, Class of ’65, US ARMY
Jim Stroud, Class of '67, US AIR FORCE
Ronny Swaim, Class of '65, US ARMY
Lamar Taylor, Class of ' 65, US MARINE CORPS
Spencer Thompson, Class of ’64, US AIR FORCE
Diane Tidwell, Class of ‘64
Bryan Towery, Class of '66, US NAVY
Tommy Towery, Class of 64, US AIR FORCE
Charles Treece, Class of 65, Alabama National Guard
Jimmy Troupe, Class of '66, ARMY
George Vail, class of 1966, Army
Rodney Vandiver, Class of '65, US NAVY
Mike Vaughn, Class of '65, US ARMY
Eric Voelkl '65 Army
Bob Walker, Class of 64, US ARMY
Joel Weinbaum Class of 64, also Navy
George Lehman Williams, Class of ’64, ARMY
Lance Wood (was in 66, Army
Billy Taylor Wright, Class of 66, US ARMY
Collins "C.E." Wynn, Class of ’64, US ARMY
Class of '67
Tim Lull, Alabama Army National Guard
Carl McCulley, Army
Earnest Hulsey, Army
David Mallory, Marines
Steve Sumners, Alabama Army National Guard
Harry Richardson, Alabama Army National Guard
Don Cox, Army
Jimmy Kiger, Marines
Ed Huff, Marines
Wayne Smith, Marines
Sam Smith, Marines
Bob Thomas, Marines
Chester Bush, Army
Ronald Steele, Army
Stanley Canaugh, Air Force
Gary Betterton, Navy
Don Cox, Army
Kathleen Kemp, Army
Kenneth Dundon, Navy
Ray Zimmerman, Army Reserves
Your Favorite Songs Prior
To High School Graduation
Featuring Brown in the Title
Charlie Handcock, LHS '66 - The first tune to come to mind for me was "Charlie Brown." I think I'll think of more later....
John Drummond, LHS '65 - Picture this scene: you are at a dance, or a concert, and late in the evening the band strikes up "Brown-Eyed Girl." If you do not immediately begin moving and/or singing along, you are either A) completely deaf or B) clinically dead. This electric show-stopper is often played as an encore to the delight of wildly cheering dancers of our generation. A more mellow tune is "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" by Herman and the Hermits, lyrics performed by the toothy Brit lead singer, Peter Noone; the Hermits played a big part in The British Invasion of the 1960s.
Tommy Towery, LHS '64 - You read my story above about my favorite song, but it would be a shame not to at least mention one of the other great rock-and-roll hits featuring "brown" in the title. That would be a classic from Chuck Berry.
What Was Your Favorite Song Prior
To High School Graduation
Featuring Black in the Title
Remember, it does not have to be a song that came out while you were in high school but only one that was a favorite before you graduated from high school. This is basically any song that you liked before you graduated. (or left school).
Email me with your picks
From Our Mailbox
Subject: Lee's Traveller
Escoe German Beatty
I'm getting used to the new format and it is working out great. I especially loved the instruction page that was the intro... I thought to myself "that sounded as if Tommy was a little frustrated". I was feeling good about the fact that I however, did not have to be hand held to get through it until I remembered that I can barely operate this computer and absolutely refuse to start texting! Never the less the new Traveler is just a smarter sleeker version... a 'grown up' edition if you will. I went through the 'Hall of Memories' again tonight and that is probably the single most touching thing about your whole endeavor. It is just hard to believe that so many are gone. I'm sure you know but there are several other teachers who are no longer with us...Jimmy Blackburn, Fulton Hamilton, Cecil Fain all come to mind and I am sure there are others.
Subect: Yellow Rose
Excellent article! Kudos! I call your attention to the surprisingly excellent rendition by Gene Autry. Also, presently, Bobby Horton's, the Cumberland Three's, and, especially, Hoyt Axton's renditions of Yellow Rose of Texas. Mr. Axton's is particularly poignant. The demise of camp ground music is rather a sad aspect of the quantum revolution.
Subject: Yellow Rose of Texas
First, let me say, Greetings to the Fami-Lee.
Second, I also was a devotee of the Gray Ghost. I may not remember the story line but I can still picture the star of the program in my mind and remember a couple of scenes.
Third, it is a little known fact but the "Yellow Rose of Texas" refers to a black woman of mixed blood. Long years ago such women were black by legal definition if they had more than a certain fraction of black blood, I believe it was 1/64. A colloquial term for persons of a certain mixture of white and black blood was "a high yellow".
The foregoing information about the song was something I heard while listening to the radio one day years ago. The DJ announced this after playing the song.
If anyone has information to the contrary please feel free to correct this.